Butternut Squash Bisque

When there's a chill in the air and we're retreating indoors there's nothing quite like a warming bowl of soup.  Winter is the time to give soup a starring role. This soup is brightened with ginger and lemon zest.   The smooth texture of butternut squash topped with a drizzle of spicy oil and pepitas give the soup its character.   To round out a meal serve with a tossed green salad and crusty bread.

Butternut Squash Bisque

Servings: 6

2 1/2 to 3 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 8 cups)

4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoon chili oil

1/4 cup heavy cream (or non-dairy heavy cream)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. In a medium sauce pan, bring squash, chicken stock, ginger and lemon zest to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes.  

2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet on medium heat, cook the pepitas, olive oil and chili oil just until heated through.  Set aside.

3. When the squash is tender, working in batches if needed, puree soup in blender.  Return to pot, add cream and salt and bring to a simmer. If needed, thin soup with more broth.  Ladle into bowls and top with a drizzle of spicy oil and pepitas.

Do Ahead: The spicy oil with pepitas can be made 1 week ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead. Let cool;cover and refrigerate.